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Common Agricultural Policy

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the recently agreed package of CAP reforms on (a) tenant farmers in England, (b) tenant farmers in the rest of the UK, (c) landlords of tenant farms, (d) family farms which do not employ non-family workers and (e) farmers as a whole. [126224]

[holding answer 16 July 2003]: As a result of the CAP reform agreement reached on 26 June, we estimate that for UK farmers as a whole there will be an increase in incomes of up to £280 million, which represents 12 per cent. of total income from farming in 2002. Restructuring of businesses and greater efficiency encouraged by decoupling might give rise to further improvements. Overall, this is estimated to be worth £270 million, but is likely to be shared between producers, consumers and businesses in other sectors. A breakdown of these figures for the sectors listed by the hon. Member is not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) rules and (b) restrictions will apply to (i) tenant farmers and (ii) non-tenant farmers who seek to transfer to another holding their own single payment entitlements created under the recently agreed package of CAP reforms. [126226]

[holding answer 16 July 2003]: In general, single payment entitlements will take the form of a designated amount per hectare for certain number of hectares and be allocated on the basis of farmers' average claims under the existing CAP direct aid schemes in the reference period 2000–02. The annual claim for payment against each entitlement will need to be accompanied by an eligible hectare, which may be on the holding that gave rise to the entitlement or on any other holding in the same member state. We expect "eligible hectare" to be defined as any agricultural area of the holding taken up by arable land and permanent pasture except areas under permanent crops, forests or used for non-agricultural purposes. Cross-compliance conditions will apply to those hectares and all other agricultural land on the holding. Those rules and restrictions will apply to tenants and non-tenants alike. A new management committee may establish additional detailed rules at EU level.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to (a) permit and (b) enable the implementation of the opportunity to buy and sell single payment entitlements as established under the recently agreed CAP reform package in respect of (i) tenant farmers, (ii) landlords of tenant farms, (iii) owner occupied farms and (iv) all farms. [126228]

[holding answer 16 July 2003]: Farmers, whether tenants or owner occupiers, will be able to sell the single payment entitlements allocated to them once they have fulfilled the relevant conditions in claiming payment on at least 80 per cent. of those entitlements in one year. Sale may also be possible once entitlement holders have voluntarily given up to the national reserve all the entitlements that they have not claimed in the first year of operation of the single payment scheme. Landlords of tenant farmers will only be able to sell entitlements that they are either allocated to them in their own right as a result of claims for CAP direct aids during the scheme reference period or purchased by them once the scheme is introduced. All sales may take place with or without land and will only be permissible if they are to another farmer within the same member state. Member states may further restrict sales to farmers within the same region.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average price differential between Common Agricultural Policy prices and world market prices are for (a) wheat, (b) beef, (c) sheep meat, (d) oats and (e) sugar beet. [125754]

The OECD calculates the difference between EU prices under the Common Agricultural Policy and indicative world market prices. The latest published estimates are for 2001 and these show differentials as follows: common wheat, €4.1 per tonne; beef, €1,727.8 per tonne; sheep meat, €2,220 per tonne; oats, €28.6 per tonne; sugar beet €23.3 per tonne.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average tariff on agricultural produce from Africa into the EU was in the last year for which figures are available. [125755]

The detailed information on tariff revenues is not readily available to enable the calculation of the average tariff.A significant number of African countries are eligible for tariff concessions on exports to the European Union. Some of the least developed African countries qualify for the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative. This arrangement grants duty-free access to imports of all products (except munitions) without any quantitative restrictions (with the exception of imports of bananas, rice and cane sugar which are being gradually liberalised). Thirty-three African countries qualify for the EBA preferential tariff rates.Other African countries qualify for preferential access under the terms of the Cotonou Agreement which provides African, Caribbean and Pacific countries with preferential access to EU markets for a wide range of agricultural commodities. Seventy-seven countries are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement and 48 of these are African Nations.In addition, the EU offers a number of tariff quotas, whereby a preferential rate of tariff is offered on a specified level of imports; and bilateral agreements, where bilateral preferences are offered between the EU and a third country.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps will be taken to improve access to EU markets for agricultural produce from the developing world under the current proposals for Common Agricultural Policy reform. [125756]

The proposals for Common Agricultural Policy reform were agreed on 26 June. They did not address market access for developing countries but agreement on them enables the EU to play a full part in negotiating new WTO arrangements on agriculture at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancun in September. A better deal for developing countries is a key part of the Government's objectives for that meeting.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the three highest agricultural tariffs on imports into the EU were in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by (a) product and (b) percentage tariff. [125757]

Tariffs on imports to the EU can include both ad valorem and specific components. To compare the relative magnitude of tariffs it necessary to convert them into ad valorem equivalents (the tariff expressed as a proportion of the import price).The World Trade Organisation database provides estimates of the rate of duty on a range of individual tariff lines. The three highest calculated tariffs on agricultural products imported into the EU in 2000, identified from the WTO data, are shown in the following table. This average gives only an approximate

Highest calculated rates of duty on agricultural imports into the EU (2000)
Rate of dutyEstimated duty rate
CN codeDescription1/1–30/61/7–31/121/1–30/61/7–31/12
0402 21 99Milk and cream in solid forms, of a fat content by weight of more than 27 %, unsweetened, in immediate packings of more than 2.5kg177.1 €/100kg161.9 €/100kg127471
0206 29 91Frozen edible bovine thick and thin skirt (excl. for manufacture of pharmaceutical products)14% + 332.6 €/100kg12.8% + 304.1 €/100kg220186
0204 42 10Frozen sheep short forequarters14% + 98.7 €/100kg12.8 % + 90.2 €/100kg67294

Source:

WTO Integrated database.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent proposals the UK has tabled in the EU to improve access for agricultural products from Africa into the EU. [125758]

The Government was a leading proponent of the EU Everything But Arms agreement under which, the world's 48 least developed countries, many of which are African, are given unrestricted duty-free access to EU markets. We are also actively supporting the EU's current WTO proposal, which calls for all developed countries to adopt similar initiatives and to allow duty-free access for at least 50 per cent. of their total imports from developing countries.